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Sun paid Novell something like $3Mil to retain the right to call their code "UNIX" until the end of time.
Novell gave the Trademark (and subsequently name ownership) to the X/Open standards committee.
Novell sold the UNIX source to SCO (which is 30% owned by Microsoft).
SCO still owns the UNIX code today. They had a new release a year or two ago. Sun hasn't paid much attention to them since they've moneyed their way into a lifetime "UNIX" license.
You can get your OS stamped as "UNIX" from X/Open by paying a truckload of money to them for their inspection. They basically verify that your syscalls are compat with v7 UNIX (think "old stuff") as well as a few other issues. Obviously, community source projects like linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or NetBSD don't have the massive financial resources required to get X/Open to certify their OS.
The end result is that the owners of "UNIX" are not overly aggressive (of AT&T fame) about the mis-use of the term.
If you want a comprehensive chart of timelines of various UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems, check out: [perso.wanadoo.fr...]
I hope this clarifies.